189 – U
Essay on topic: “Why does Ukraine need new Constitution?”
Ukraine is a part of European civilization which was built on two foundations – Christianity and Judaism. In 988 Vladimir the Great made Christianity an official religion in Kievan Rus, and it became a civilizational dimension for that time and for future. Civilizations get developed by the means of evolution and revolution; history is never straightforward — there are always ups and downs, but it’s important that it moves and each fall becomes a beginning of a new rise.
Civilization is grounded on values; these values can be characterized as socially approved conceptions of the majority of people about goodness, justice, patriotism etc. Society reflects its social values in constructing a system and in social and governmental relations. Speaking about Constitution we talk about a certain effort to bring a legal nature to an ideal that would harmonies existence, ensure worthy life, provide overall access to civilizational heritage and wouldn’t limit rights as a basis of understanding the life in a developed nation. Every word of the Constitution must reflect values and philosophy as a social foundation and achievements and experience of previous generations, build upon mistakes and spilled blood of those who believed in better future and tried to fight for it.
The Constitution must be grounded on a national idea according to the civilizational measurement, such as the Constitution of the United States of America which was built on a Biblical basis, principles of which were greatly described by William Penn — one of the ideological fathers of the Constitution and of people’s idea of own being and governing. From the historical prospective the US Constitution proved its highest viability among all others. We can call it a juridical symbol of civilizational development. Modern understanding of Constitution was suggested by Charles Montesquieu, who was an outstanding French philosopher and pioneer of an empirical law according to which experience is the main source of knowledge. He thought as well that state and laws are results of wars. War as a breakdown of social development leads to reconsideration of values and change of their vector — for example, the US Constitution after the independence war, Philip Orlyk’s Constitution after the war with Moskovia.
Famous American sociologist Charles Tilly confirms this principle by saying “war made the state and the state made war.” Values basing the society that are to be reflected in the main law change along with the historical process and development, such as Thirteen Amendment to the US Constitution about abolition of slavery from 1865, preceded by bloody war and followed by rapid development of the USA.
Historical breakdowns lead to appearance of something new and changing of a landmark. Can Ukraine becoming independent be called as such a breakdown? Yes, absolutely, however, after centuries of subjugation this breakdown was mostly geopolitical. Was it value-civilizational? Unfortunately only for a certain part of Ukrainians who treasured memory of the history of fight for indolence and knew its value. The other part of Ukrainians wanted to be independent, however they didn’t realize its foundation.
The Constitution of 1996 was a progressive development for that time and was based on civilizational and legislative achievements. However, could these achievements accord the society that has never lived in the legal state and has never realized full responsibility of living in such? In my opinion most of the citizens, as well as the ruling elite, didn’t understand that responsibility. Revolution of 2004 brought big hopes and new values of social development but also big disappointments as it appeared to be; however that applied to a certain part of the citizens as well, that’s why that event didn’t become a foundation for sacred Ukrainian national Constitution, which would be a symbol of light obtained in a hard struggle and which would be valued by national leaders. Real revolutionary breakdown in social development preceded by the revolution of dignity which happened only these days. Russian aggression toward Ukraine became a unifying factor for the nation which provided a historical opportunity for formation of a base for a new Ukrainian Constitution which would ground on idea of value and ideology.
Why does Ukraine need a new Constitution? Present Constitution of 2004 doesn’t meet valuable and civilizational base of the present condition of the society that made a civilizational breakthrough and presented new requirements for post-Soviet governmental relations. Present Constitution in many aspects appeared to be a collection of optimistic statements, not ensured by resources and ability of the state to fulfill its duties neither de jure not de facto. Such a state provokes a conflict, that’s why it is critically important for the state to create a new constitution, and its fulfillment must be a vital part of it’s creation. On the other hand it’s important for the citizens to be familiar with the truth proclaimed by the founding father of the US Constitution and first Chief Justice John Jay who said: “Every member of the State ought diligently to read and to study the constitution of his country… By knowing their rights, they will sooner perceive when they are violated, and be the better prepared to defend and assert them.”